Most of us know that eating healthily is important when it comes to supporting overall health and well-being, however, all too often, we fail to recognize how important food can be in boosting the immune system so we can withstand illnesses and diseases. When you know which foods you should eat to optimal immunity, you can help your body to effectively combat disease and combine them together to create the ultimate immunity boosting diet for a long and healthy life.
The Immunity Problem
The immune system has a key role to play in our overall health and wellness. Without a strong immune system, we cannot effectively combat the invading viruses and bacteria that attack our bodies every day. The immune system is affected by a range of factors including grief, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, over-exercising, and poor diet. Finding ways to combat those factors is imperative to ensure that we can live a healthy life with minimal risk of disease.
Nutrition For The Immune System
One of the best ways to protect your immune system and give it the additional strength it needs to combat disease is to eat healthily. Malnutrition is a major cause of low immunity, and this doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of food. You could eat three meals a day and still be malnourished because you aren’t consuming enough micronutrients – the vitamins and minerals you require for optimal well-being.
You can improve the nutrition for your immune system by:
- Ensuring you consume enough micronutrients
- Adding superfoods like kale, berries, and garlic into your diet Phytochemicals And Immunity Plant chemicals known as phytochemicals occur naturally and, when you consume them, they interact on all levels with your immune system to support it. Although phytochemicals aren’t well understood by most people, they have been proven to be very effective, even inhibiting cancer at each stage of its development. Adding phytochemicals into your diet can be very beneficial in helping to combat disease. Some of the most common and beneficial phytochemicals to support immunity are found in:
- Green tea
- Black tea
- Garlic To help you get more phytochemicals into your diet you should eat foods of different colors. Antioxidants And Immune Health Antioxidants are substances that have been shown to be effective in eradicating the free radicals that cause oxidative stress and illnesses in the body. Foods containing antioxidants are beneficial for your immune system. The antioxidants that are good for immunity include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Zeaxanthin To include more antioxidants in your diet you need to eat varied, balanced foods including the following:
- Vitamin C – vegetables and fruits including bell peppers, oranges and berries
- Vitamin E – seeds and nuts, vegetable and sunflower oils, and leafy green vegetables
- Beta-carotene – vegetables and fruits in bright colors like peas, mangos, carrots and spinach
- Lycopene – red and pink vegetables and fruits like watermelon and tomatoes
- Lutein – leafy green vegetables, oranges, papaya and corn
- Selenium – corn, rice, wheat, nuts, wholegrains, legumes, cheese and eggs Adding Polysaccharides To Your Diet Another way to boost immunity is to include polysaccharides in your diet. These are vital for nutrition as they contain complex carbohydrates which are key energy sources. Polysaccharides are found in cereal grain husks, algae, certain yeasts, plants, fungi and mushrooms. You can add polysaccharides into your diet by eating:
- Starchy carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, bread, potatoes and corn
- Cellulose in the form of wholegrains, plant leaves and fruit skins
- Pectin in the form of dried beans, oats, flax seed, barley, nuts, apples, oranges, carrots and psyllium husk
Plant Foods And Combating Cancer
A strong link has been found between a weakened immune system and cancer. Cancer occurs because of lowered immunity, and the treatment itself causes lowered immunity too. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to eat plenty of plant-based foods as these have been shown to boost your immune system. Plant-based foods help to combat cancer because:
- They’re lower in calories so help you to maintain a healthy bodyweight
- Contain plenty of fiber
- They contain phytochemicals that protect the cells from damage There are a number of healthy plant-based foods to add to your diet for better immunity. These include:
- Starchy vegetables
- Healthy fats
- Nuts and seeds
- Unsweetened plant-based milks
How Omega 3 Can Help Your Immunity
You have probably heard of omega 3 in terms of food supplements or fish oils. Omega 3 is a type of fatty acid that can boost immunity while also helping other elements of your well-being such as your cognitive health. Omega 3s help to boost immunity by combating inflammation in the body. You can add omega 3 fatty acids into your diet by eating more:
- Oily fish
- Seeds and nuts
- Plant oils
- Fortified foods Prebiotics And Probiotics And Their Roles Prebiotics and probiotics both have a key role to play in gut health, and having a healthy gut is essential for a strong immune system. Probiotics work by ensuring a good balance of good and bad bacteria inside the gut, while prebiotics provide a beneficial food source for the good gut bacteria. You can add prebiotics and probiotics to your diet by eating more:
- Fermented foods
- Yogurts containing live and active cultures
- More fruits and vegetables including chicory root, seaweed, leeks, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes
Which Foods To Add To Your Diet To Boost Your Immune System?
There are a number of foods you should add to your diet to give your immune system the boost it needs. 10 of the best include:
- Citrus fruits
- Red bell peppers
- Sunflower Seeds
- Turmeric When you include these foods in your everyday diet, you can give your immunity a little additional support so you can enjoy better overall health and wellness. Follow this advice, and you’ll find that you have better protection against both mild and serious illnesses.
Take A Step Further To Boost Your Immune System Today!